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Tetanus? DD has a burn...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
DD3 got a minor burn on her arm yesterday from touching the deep fryer. It's small, but this morning had developed to 2nd degree with a big blister.

We called the provincial telehealth and were reassured that we could still treat it at home. She's fine otherwise, no signs of infection, we cleaned off the dead skin and covered it with a bandage with polysporin.

But she said they recommend a tetanus shot with 2nd degree burns. She asked if DD was up-to-date on vaccines and I was honest, said she was unvaxed. So she explained that they do recommend a tetanus shot within 3 days of the burn, so within 2 more days.

I did a little research and it does seem to be a legitimate recommendation, that there are cases of tetanus from burns. It just seems weird to me, since it's such a minor burn... and I hesitate to get involved with the health care system for a shot since they might start pushing for the rest of them... but at the same time, I don't want to endanger my daughter!

We're in Canada and don't currently have a family doctor. We'd have to go through "Public Health" to get shots. FWIW, we are still considering doing some selective, delayed vaccines, but hadn't made up our minds yet.
post #2 of 13
They should be recommending the TIG for an unvaxed person .

I wouldn't (and didn't) give TIG for one small wound. My unvaxed dd was burned by popping grease and had a couple of small blister wounds. I just treated with bm and it healed well.

When I was reading about tetanus and burns, it was in a list which included scratches and dog bites.
post #3 of 13
In my experience, "they" recommend giving tetanus for everything. Wounds that bleed profusely, wounds that don't bleed at all, big cuts, little cuts, etc. It doesn't really seem to matter what the cause of the wound or anything else surrounding it. Tetanus is recommended for everything. Try searching for any type of wound you can come up with... you will find that they are all a legitimate concern for tetanus and that the vax is recommended. Such is life in this day and age.

I would just make sure to allow the wound to breathe and not do anything to it that would create an environment that fosters infection. Tetanus dies in oxygen, so allowing the area to be exposed to air is your best bet. If you are nursing, I would also put some bm on the area.

Think of how many people there are out there that aren't UTD on their vaxes, that get burns, and don't get tetanus. I bet there are hundreds of thousands. My husband included, who burned his hand on the broiler last week and is still here to talk about it.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies.

Here is part of an email I sent to DH at work, before I read these replies:

-----------
The pro-vaccine, typical medical sites, state that the occurrence of serious side effects is 'very rare', and the rate of death from getting tetanus is 30%... though other sites (also medical pro-vaccine) say 11%... and others say 20%... Anyway, still, they say that the risk of dying from tetanus is much worse than the risk of complications from the vaccine.

What they don't say, is how many people get the vaccine and still get tetanus anyway (they say "most" people who get tetanus were non-vaccinated, that means "some" were vaccinated) -- and they don't give the odds on /getting/ tetanus in the first place. If 30% of people who get tetanus die, that sounds all bad and scary and oooooh we better get the vaccine. But how many people in 'higher-risk' situations (deeper cuts, presence of feces, etc) actually catch it? If 100 people out of 1,000,000 potential cases actually catch it, and thirty percent die, then that's 30/million, which is indeed higher than the risk of the vaccine (about 1/million).
(Actually, that's hard to tell too, because reporting procedures for vaccine reactions are so horrible that most are underreported... there is an almost barbaric 'burden of proof' required before the CDC/FDA will actually count a reaction as being related to a vaccine).

But anyway, if you go with an assumption that 1/million is correct, then if 100/million folks get tetanus then the shot seems worth it. But we don't know that number /at all/. Tetanus is really very rare. People are getting cuts all the time. Physicians will say the rate is low because of the vaccines... but again, many folks with the vaccine get tetanus too. There just aren't clear enough numbers to make an informed decision. ARGH.

--------------

In other words, I was kind of thinking along the same logical lines. Tetanus is bad, if you get it. But the odds of getting tetanus are very low. The vaccine reaction is bad, if you get it. But the odds of getting the reaction are very low. I don't have enough actual numbers to truly compare the risks.

If this were a more serious injury, if it had actually gotten under the skin, for instance... or if there had been contact with feces or dirt... I'd probably be more inclined to go with the vaccine. Right now, I'm leaning towards this being not worth the risk of the shot...
post #5 of 13
the fact that they pushed you to get the Vax and not the TIG should be enough for you to see they are not that concerned in the first place!
post #6 of 13
A tetanus shot after a wound in an unvaxed person does nothing. it takes at least two weeks to build the immunity after the vaccine. it is a preventative measure, not after the fact.
What you actually would need to get in a serious case is the TIG, which sadly, most doctors dont know anything about.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
To be fair, they did not "push" me to get the vax. She asked if we were up-to-date, I said she was unvaxed, she barely even skipped a beat, just said "in that case, we do recommend a tetanus shot within 3 days of the injury." And that was that -- no pushing, just informing me of the recommendation.

As for the difference between tetanus and tig, I was utterly ignorant of that as well before all this. For all we know, though, when she said "tetanus shot" she was just speaking generically, and when/if we actually went to a clinic and explained the situation, they'd know the right one to give. I don't know that for a FACT, but I don't think it's necessary to cast accusations about that particular issue.

We can case accusations about the recommendation in the first place. But we don't have to add extra ones where they don't exist. FWIW, I've called telehealth before when DD had a rash, it also came up that she was unvaxed and again they didn't bat an eyelash... I half-expected "oh no, then she must have the measles" or something. I've always been very impressed with the professionalism of telehealth, and the support for 'home remedies' too.

Just wanted to clear that up, in case how she'd spoken to me was being misconstrued.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post

As for the difference between tetanus and tig, I was utterly ignorant of that as well before all this. For all we know, though, when she said "tetanus shot" she was just speaking generically, and when/if we actually went to a clinic and explained the situation, they'd know the right one to give. I don't know that for a FACT, but I don't think it's necessary to cast accusations about that particular issue.
It's not an accusation, it's an assumption based on the reported experiences of those here. Most of the time they mean the vax (a booster if you are current and an opportunity to vax an unvaxed person, if you are not); and if they don't when the TIG is mentioned, it is often a game of tag and telephone to determine if the facility has it because no one has used it/been asked for it before.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
I understand. Like I said, I didn't know anything about it either before today, though several of the websites I visited (including medical ones, not just alternative health) did make the distinction. I have no idea if the knowledge is common among Canadian health professionals or not... a lot of the common assumptions about 'bad advice from doctors' that you see on these boards don't apply (or at least, don't apply nearly as often) here in Canada.

All I'm saying is that just from the single comment the nurse made, I wouldn't assume that she meant one thing or the other... if it were from the doctors at the clinic, then yes I'd be concerned.

Although... they're usually pretty on the ball, these nurses, giving lots of heads-up and things-to-watch-for. I'd think that they'd say "since she's unvaxed, the recommendation is for a TIG shot within three days, which is different than the regular tetanus shot. Make sure you ask for the right one."

So, who knows. At least, like I said, they weren't PUSHING it on me, just informing me, and there was no further commentary about the non-vax situation either.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post
I understand. Like I said, I didn't know anything about it either before today, though several of the websites I visited (including medical ones, not just alternative health) did make the distinction. I have no idea if the knowledge is common among Canadian health professionals or not... a lot of the common assumptions about 'bad advice from doctors' that you see on these boards don't apply (or at least, don't apply nearly as often) here in Canada.

All I'm saying is that just from the single comment the nurse made, I wouldn't assume that she meant one thing or the other... if it were from the doctors at the clinic, then yes I'd be concerned.

Although... they're usually pretty on the ball, these nurses, giving lots of heads-up and things-to-watch-for. I'd think that they'd say "since she's unvaxed, the recommendation is for a TIG shot within three days, which is different than the regular tetanus shot. Make sure you ask for the right one."

So, who knows. At least, like I said, they weren't PUSHING it on me, just informing me, and there was no further commentary about the non-vax situation either.
My unvaxed daughter burned her hand on the stove when she was 3. It blistered and peeled. She's totally fine.

As for the nurses, it's good you give them the benefit of the doubt but I've met more than my fair share of ignorant ones. Just as an example, I had two different ones from my OB office call me to come in for a winrho shot when they had been dealing with me all along and knew I was sensitized. They even kept filling out my forms to get my titre blood draws. The winrho shot after sensitization is useless. I had to point this out to them and it's sad when you're telling health care workers how to do their job.
post #11 of 13
Canada isn't much better then the US. They usually give the tetnus shot not TIG to those who have a current wound. My DH got a tentnus shot in the ER for a puncture wound just before we started looking into vaxes. It's standard practice. His wound had an even higher chance of tetnus because it was a nail in the leg and it didn't bleed because the nail stopped the bleeding for about an hour until it was looked at and pulled out. If they had truly been concerned about Tetnus it would have been the TIG they would have given him.

One thing that is much better about Canada, regarding vaxes, is that we don't get hassled nearly as much and putting your kids in school is easy, no manditory vaxes.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. We decided to not bother and DH was comfortable with it. He's been fine with the whole non-vax thing up until now, but I think he is a bit nervous about her staying non-vaxed COMPLETELY. We're still researching and contemplating, and we'll probably go with partial, delayed, rather than completely non-vaxed. He agreed that vaxing infants was ridiculous, but he is now asking when we're going to get her some shots now that she's older.

And, he was more nervous about her burn itself than I was. So I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed that the tetanus was unnecessary. Partly because, I think, I was able to give him all the great info I found online and in this thread.

Anyway, she's healing and seems fine, she was more cooperative when I washed and bandaged it yesterday than the first time (I'm taking off the bandage every day for several hours to give it air, bandaging the rest of the time to keep it clean... she does get into everything, including the kitty litter *sigh* )
post #13 of 13
From what i'v researched and "drs" i'v spoken to to get tetnus 1st you have to have a injury where it is not able to get air in it(tetnus spores can not live in air) then spores must be preasent (which i doubt grease has tetnus spores you get that from rust,dirt or poo....)

So unless its so deep that you know air is uanble to get inside or you have recenty rubbed dirt,poo or rust and again didnt clean it then maybe some concern is warrented..but you again have other options..and even if she happen to get tetnus you recover via hospiatl within a few weeks
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